Monday, October 21, 2013

Using an MRI to “See” What Man’s Best Friend Feels

What if it were possible to know what a dog feels?

Fascinating research made possible by MRI technology has uncovered a partial answer to this baffling question. Since man’s best friend can’t speak to us directly, we must rely on indirect information – barking, or tail-wagging, for instance. But do sick or confused dogs show the same behavior? Does a dog that doesn't bark or wag its tail still feel something when it sees a familiar person? And is it the same thing a dog feels when it sees another familiar dog? Some of these questions were answered.

Emory University Professor Gregory Berns believed that neuroscience could offer some clues. He reasoned that knowing more about how dogs react neurologically could affect the way we treat them. In a recent article in The New York Times, Berns describes training his dog, and others, to remain still in MRI machines to be scanned for a study.

Findings are preliminary – studies are ongoing – but one part of a dog’s brain is already demonstrating a remarkable similarity to a human brain: the caudate nucleus. The caudate nucleus is a part of the human brain whose activity can, with some consistency, predict a person’s preference for food or music. So it was with dogs in the study: their caudate nuclei responded to “hand signals indicating food,” the odor of familiar humans, and perhaps the return of an owner who had just disappeared from view.

A remarkable aspect of the research is that dogs are trained to remain completely still inside the MRI unit. Berns notes that vets usually anesthetize dogs for scans like this, but an anesthetized dog would not be able to display emotional reactions. The ability of dogs in the study to remain motionless when requested, made possible by positive training by investigators, allowed the MRI scanner to capture images of brain activity -- and thus, to study dogs’ reactions to stimuli. The team was able to train twelve dogs to obtain MRI scans in this way.

It turns out that dogs are like us in ways that we could never have “seen.” Perhaps one day Berns' team will be able to know when dogs are impatient, worried, or just wanting a little more attention.

Zwanger-Periri Radiology is the leading Long Island provider of diagnostic imaging, including MRI scanning, using the most advanced 3T Wide-Bore MRI (Siemens Skyra) units on the market today.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Earlier Mammograms Urged for African American Women

It’s a cruel paradox: If you are a black woman, you are less likely to get breast cancer than a white woman, but you are 41 percent more likely to die from it.

Research has shown that there are multiple factors at work. Black women tend to request medical attention later, have reduced access to health insurance, participate less in wellness care initiatives, and tend to have poorer overall health at the time they are afflicted with breast cancer.

Recent evidence for this group’s disproportionately poor breast cancer outcome comes from several sources:

In 2013, more than 6,000 black women are expected to die from breast cancer. Experts believe earlier mammograms for black women (starting at age 40) would save lives.

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is committed to providing diagnostic imaging services for those who need them, including those who are uninsured. We are proud of our Give Back Sundays program, which provides radiology services for the disadvantaged and uninsured at no charge. It is one of the many ways that Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology gives back to the community. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology High School Essay Contest

Zwanger-Pesiri Radiology is proud to award ten distinct $1,000 scholarships to eligible high school seniors who reside on Long Island.

We are looking for a well-thought-out essay that can have an impact on all of our lives today and in the future! We want to hear from YOU!!


  • The essay should be between 1,000 and 1,500 words, submitted electronically as a PDF or Word file.
  • The student must be active in community and charitable organizations. This needs to be documented and verified by the school’s guidance department.
  • The student must have a GPA of 85 or higher, and be in their senior year.
  • Deadline is May 1, 2014.

Topics (choose one)
  • How does radiology help you and your family?
  • Advances in technology drive innovations in medicine.  How do you see technology advancing radiology?
  • How will the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act have an impact on the field of radiology?
Please e-mail essay submissions to

Winners and guidance departments will be notified by e-mail by June 1, 2014.